Could synthetic petrol save the internal-combustion engine?

    Porsche thinks so. Although it’s embraced the electric era with the Taycan, the German sports car giant is looking into synthetic fuels developed in Chile.

    It plans to produce the man-made ‘fossil fuel’ from 2022, having last year signed an agreement with Siemens Energy, AME, Enel, and a Chilean petrochemical company to investigate what it dubbed e-fuels.

    Speaking to global media ahead of the 2021 911 GT3 launch, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said the Chilean plant will be producing 55 million litres of synthetic fuel by 2024, and up to 550 million litres by 2026.

    The fuel being developed is a plug-and-play fit with today’s internal-combustion engines.

    “Synthetic fuels have around eight-10 components, where today’s fuels have between 30 and 40,” head of the Porsche 911 model line, Frank-Steffen Walliser, told media.

    “As it’s an artificial, synthetic fuel, you have no by-products, so it’s way cleaner – everything positive for the engine. 

    “At full scale, we expect a reduction in the CO2 impact of around 85 per cent. If you consider well-to-wheel, where we have to transport fuel, we have a global supply chain, everything around that – you have efficiency across the whole process.

    “In a well-to-wheel consideration, it is on the same level as an electric car.”

    Although it’s investing in alternative fuels for the future, Porsche has also committed to electric powertrains in its current range.

    The Panamera and Cayenne are both available with plug-in hybrid powertrains, and the Macan will be replaced with a pure-electric model when the current car reaches the end of its life.

    Porsche is also looking at making the Cayman and Boxster all-electric, although the legendary 911 appears safe for now.

    “Electromobility is a top priority at Porsche,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said last year.

    “eFuels for cars are a worthwhile complement to that – if they’re produced in parts of the world where a surplus of sustainable energy is available. They are an additional element on the road to decarbonisation. “

    CarExpert is driving the first all-electric Porsche on Australian roads this week. Stay tuned for our local review.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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